POSTED: Friday, January 17, 2014 - 11:34am
UPDATED: Friday, January 17, 2014 - 4:26pm
(CNN) — For years, the stereotype of the French waiter has been brusque and unfriendly...from the surly waiter in the national lampoon movie to the superior one in Ratatouille.
Now, it seems demand for this French service may be waning.
Michelin star chef, Marcus Wareing says his customers no longer want the French stuffy formal service,
"My experience of fine dining all over the world, from Tokyo to Paris, to Spain, Italy and America...It's something about the American top end service that I really enjoy. It's the hospitality from the minute you walk in the door to the minute when you leave. There's that lovely smile that goes all the way through. I just think that in cities like London, it can be a little bit stiff and I think fine dining can sometimes look formalized and I don't think it is."
He should know, he's been observing diners' behavior for seven years.
"I took over the business here at the Berkeley in 2008 and recession was the common word and it was just beginning and that scared the life out of me. So I watched my clients very closely and I think what I have noticed is that customers want more value for less money and we have to delivery that," Wearing explained.
The waiters will have to be re-trained on how to be more engaging and friendly.... and that's the job of restaurant manager, Daniel Greenock.
He’s spent a year at New York restaurant Eleven Madison Park and now he's ready to pass on the knowledge.
"The first thing I learnt is to enjoy yourself, the importance of letting the true importance of what you do shine through, really smile and letting that come across to the guest and also just humility. Everyone there didn't take themselves too seriously," Greenock said.
The training already has started and will involve role play scenarios between hotel staff and waiters. But that's not the only change taking place here.
To create a more relaxed American atmosphere...the starched linen tablecloths will be ditched. The burgundy interiors, which were designed in the early 1990's, will be ripped out and replaced with a lighter and more spacious dining room; which will include an art collection. The menu however will stay the same, but there will be an option for those who want a quicker lunch.
Already some are worried that the Brits may not buy into the change.
“Reading the guest is a big thing. It's something that we have learnt from a very young age. In this industry, you learn when people want to chat with you and when they don't and we're not going enforce ourselves on anyone,” Greenock told CNN.
That is what you call a laissez fair service, with an American twist.